Saturday, November 14, 2009

Harper Jo Clark's home birth story 11/09/09

I better write this down before the details become soft and out of focus. If you like to read birth stories, this is a good one because it's an encouraging swift delivery... the kind we all want to have. I feel lucky to have experienced two perfect home birth deliveries. It will be very sad to ever leave this house since both my babies were born here.

Stand and Deliver
Nov. 9, 2009 | Harper Jo Clark's birth story

So, around 3:45AM on early Monday morning, I felt it. The first contraction.
"oh," I thought.
"what a coincidence," Owen's birth story started around 3AM." I'll just go back to sleep and wake up and get ready for this birth.
One problem. I couldn't sleep. Not because I was anxious but because the contractions were a minute long and every 10 minutes with alarming consistency. I didn't wake Matt up, but at 6AM I told him, "I'm having contractions," to which he replied,
"The real ones?"
And so it began. I got up, got dressed and began the day with Owen, Matt and Sarah (Matt's mom flew into town Sunday night). The contractions this time were a lot more painful and longer and more consistent throughout the morning than my early labor with Owen. I had to stop what I was doing while I was having one just to breathe and focus. I couldn't be sitting, either, it hurt too much.

I called Womancare Midwifery at 8AM just to let them know that today was likely the day unless things just progressed really really slow. Mary Ann reminded me that I should call back when contractions were consistently coming 5 minutes apart or much much harder and longer. Matt and I went for a walk sometime around 9 and they were coming every 4-5 minutes and a little harder. I called Mary Ann back at 10AM. She said they would come, set up, check my progress and vitals and we'd go from there.

The midwives showed up at 10:45-11AM and set up all their gear...which took awhile. You see, they carry LOTS of stuff for delivery including oxygen infant resuscitation. As soon as they walked through the door, my contractions slowed down to 10 minutes apart and not as 'heavy.' Kindra checked me and I was 4-5cm and 90% effaced. Just before noon, Kindra said she felt comfortable leaving me so long as I called back if the contractions got harder and closer together.Mary Ann made the comment she had seen women go from 4cm to 10cm in 20 minutes so don't be afraid to call. My sister Kate also left and was going to come back around 2PM.

Everything seemed under control. I felt fine. Matt wasn't even counting my contractions for me at this point. I ate some lunch and went upstairs to read. Gran was hanging out with Owen and putting him down for his noon nap. All was well. I finally called Matt in to start counting the contractions so we'd have a better idea of where I stood with everything. it was about 12:10PM.

OUCH. That one hurt. I started breathing a lot heavier during the contractions, which were now coming about seven minutes apart but much harder.

OUCH. THAT one hurt.

OWWWWWWEEE. That ONE really hurt.

Plus I started getting really annoyed at environmental things.. ex: Kaibee, our dog, was "stinking," I told Matt to get her out of the room and Owen was talking up a storm with Gran, which was distracting and annoying to me. I told Matt to shut the door. I remembered being annoyed at dumb stuff last time when things got serious.
So I labored from about noon-12:45 and told Matt, "call Kate, Call the midwives, we need them back." I knew it was time to call the midwives when I recognized the "emotional signpost" (Bradley Method) of doubt/self-doubt. I was thinking secretly to myself,


Kindra arrived first shortly before 1PM, and Mary Ann not long after that. I was lying on the bed "laboring" and then realized, I'm having way too much pain in this position, I need to get up. So I got up. Moving while in active labor was with both births extremely uncomfortable. I stood at the edge of the bed and held on to the bed post between contractions, which were getting confusing... was that a contraction or was I supposed to push there?

am I through transition?
I knew it was getting close because the midwives didn't seem too worried about checking my dilation status...

I was getting this feeling of something LARGE (think baby head) STUCK right around my anus. Sorry. It felt like I had to poop a large watermelon. There I said it. I didn't remember this feeling from Owen's birth until it was ALMOST over, so I said to the midwives,

"What am I doing here, am I pushing? I'm feeling a lot of pressure"

Kindra (calmly) "Oh, yes, Cameron this baby is coming, the head is right there, and we are seeing more and more of it."

me thinking: THE HEAD?? WHAT?

but I'm STANDING up!!!. I had not pictured a standing delivery. This is almost over? I felt like it just started, but FINE BY ME.

Kate, my sister, had rushed back to the house at some point after 1PM and I noticed her watching me, felt bad for her, and wanted to give her a little smile, like "it's okay, I'm fine," but I couldn't really open my eyes, even for a second to be my *old* self. I was in serious *la la* labor land. All I could manage were some primal grunts, groans --your typical Hollywood labor noises.

PUSH. GRUNT. PUSH. Insert primal noises and a very scared, "your doing great, Cameron" from my sister.

Water broke.

I'm thinking "oh wow, this is happening NOW."

I don't know, really, it wasn't the same type of pushing as the first labor, which was textbook-- One two three, here's a contraction and PUUSSHHHHH... Harper was more like. Ouch, ouch ouch, and feeling the uterus doing lots of it's own work and then I'm giving it a little push here and there when I felt like it.

Kindra: "Okay the head is out."

me thinking: WHAT? THE HEAD is OUT?--

okay calm yourself, now all I have to do is push the body out, so here goes...

...and next thing I knew there was a baby on a towel being handed up to me. I'm told Matt knelt down and "caught" the baby as it came out. It was pretty amazing. I went and took a seat on the bed with the new baby and lifted her leg,

"It's a girl!!" I said. Everyone laughed. I thought it would be a boy.

So my active labor was less than an hour an a half. PRAISE JESUS. I went from 4-5cm to 10cm in less than an hour. I really liked delivering during the day because then you don't have to stay up all night and never recover that sleep.

The midwives service was great, as usual, and they took care of everything, including changing and washing the sheets and linens When they leave, your house looks like they were never there (Mary Ann even brought over some homemade hummus and crackers)! They do a standard follow up visit at home one day later, and three days later. I can't say enough about how nice it is to have the baby in the comfort of your own home, sleep beside your husband that night and receive follow-up home care and lactation consulting. To me, that is the way it should be. You shouldn't have a question about nursing your baby that doesn't get answered in person by an expert. One HUGE bonus is that if it's your second child, you don't have to worry about what will happen with your first born while you go to the hospital (or your dogs) Who will watch him? How will he nap or sleep? How will you call someone at 3AM to come over? Will he be safe and happy? Those are definitely concerns I didn't have or think of until a friend pointed it out to me. A pregnant woman has enough to worry about, the last thing you need is more anxiety. Owen was able to see the baby within a half an hour of her being born (I woke him from his nap with my primal sounds **I have a video of his first reaction, which I'll post soon). Additionally, it seems like when I go to any doctor's office, I can never remember what I was going to ask them, but when the midwives come to visit me at home, the dialog begins and when they leave all my questions are answered. If they're not, of course, I can reach them on their cell phone. Prenatal and postnatal care with great customer service, Why? Because you deserve it.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

39 weeks pregnant photo

39 weeks pregnant. Photo ©2009 John Running

I am lucky to count Running as one of my friends and he really wanted to make some photos of me pregnant. I elected to do it LATE in the pregnancy so I'd be REALLY big. There are some other great artistic photos but they reveal more than I'm comfortable with for the internet and this blog (I love them, though).

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Owen's developmental psychology at 20 months

I thought I'd take some notes on Owen's behavior at this age, now 20 months today because I know I'll forget. This is really for myself so that later with the second child we'll find ourselves saying, "when did Owen do that?" Also I think the grandparents like to read stuff like this. All of his behaviors are perfectly normal and age appropriate according to what I've read online. We think he's pretty smart and lots of fun! I should organize these by category, but it's more fun this way.
  • talks/ jabbers constantly, mostly understandable, occasionally hard to know what he's saying.
  • makes 2-3 word sentences and combines two of them to make longer sentences: "night, night Mommy," "See you in the morning." -- "cement mixer." "pours concrete."
  • Yesterday he said "BAA TEET" and we had no idea what he said. It took us until today he said, "want it." "BAA TEET," in the kitchen and then pointed towards the cabinet. I then translated, OH, "special treat" and he repeated, "want it." "BAA Teet." and then added with enthusiasm, "OKAY!!" and nodded his head as if to say, yes, I'll take that now.
  • would sit for hours to listen to stories with anyone who would read to him anytime of the day.
  • very good at self-play with trucks, books and matchbox cars for 30 minutes.
  • knows the difference between a Porsche and a Mustang and can name 10-12 different matchbox cars correctly (Matt taught him).
  • knows colors: blue, purple, red, green, yellow, brown, black, pink, orange
  • can tell you 15 opposites from a book we have and learned them in one day! We were surprised. You can say one of the word (even without the book ) and he'll tell you the opposite word: ex: "neat, MESSY" and "clean, DIRTY" -- not sure if the concepts are there, but I'll test that this week.
  • fake cries when he wants a Popsicle "pop" and can't have one.
  • stops fake crying when you tell him "big boys don't cry" or "remember big brother's don't cry, they tell Mommy what they want" He says, "YEAH" and stops crying.
  • puts toys away in the bath singing, "Bye Bye ____ " fill in the blank with a toy. Sings it to a tune we learned in Music Together class.
  • loves his music together class. Loves *real* music and *kid* music.
  • prefers to do things himself, never has been big on holding my hand to do anything, unless he is really nervous.
  • in a new place, you can put him down and he'll either observe or run around and be social.
  • can tell you the difference between a front-end loader and a bulldozer. LOVES road building vehicles and book about them.
  • adores all trucks and most things with wheels will say "I love Trucks" because we have a book of that same title.
  • doesn't cry when I leave him, instead says, "see ya later, Mommy."
  • is addicted to yogurt raisins. I think he would eat the whole bag.
  • knows his African and other animals: giraffes, elephants, lions, tigers, zebra, gazelles, deer, bears, snakes, birds... many more. Loves to name them during story time.
  • He is extremely attached to a $5.00 orange matchbox garbage truck
  • loves to help Daddy fix anything with tools and toolbox. Gets out the tools and attempts to use them on the object.
  • enjoys the park and thinks he's 4 years old and can climb anything like the big boys.
  • dances and loves music. Can sing songs in tune, woke up one morning and while Matt opened the blind sang, "Good Day Sunshine."
  • Can tell you where we are going when in the car: if we pass where his music class is located he'll say, "music class, music class."
  • goes to bed very easily for nap and bedtime in his crib for anyone who does his routine.
  • Talks to himself more these days as he's falling asleep, maybe thirty minutes at night and 10 minutes at nap time.
  • talks to Kaibee, our dog, when he's alone with her.
  • really loves Kate, my sister, and her husband, Norm. Anytime you ask him who is coming over he replies, "Tía" with great enthusiasm.
  • can take his jacket off himself and put or remove his arms in the arm holes when you are dressing or undressing him.
  • sat without squirming for a haircut for 10 minutes (this surprised Mommy)!
  • fed a giraffe a "cookie" at the African Safari zoo in Cottonwood
  • not scared of Halloween objects or much in general
  • not a big fan of Kaibee barking when he doesn't expect it
  • loves other kids and plays well with them, sharing not really a concept he likes but he seems to tolerate it.
  • doesn't throw tantrums too bad, mostly we can change the topic and he'll stop crying
  • He is obsessed with that orange garbage truck and will FIXATE on it, if we can't find it or if a part pops off it. He sleeps with it most nights these days (dang thing can be pulled apart in two ways, we fix it 100 times a day).
  • starting to run a little faster, doesn't really walk backwards yet
  • can't jump yet
  • wakes up happy and talking, usually about his garbage truck
  • points to things outside the car and identifies them (knows what to expect from certain trips in the car ie: will tell you what's coming up)
  • when at computer asks to see "photos" or play songs from iTunes that he likes, "raindrops" or "yee haw"
  • interesting in potty topics, but not sure if he wants to try it himself.
  • has a limited diet, doesn't love to try new things, but occasionally he will in a setting that is not his usual high chair
  • if you asked him if he pooped, he might say "yes" or "no" and either could be correct, but if you ask him while he's pooping, if he's pooping, he gives you the right answer.
  • seems to understand that there is a baby in my belly. Loves to pull up my shirt and say "baby" or "belly button." Pretty sure he has no idea a real live baby is going to pop out any day now.
  • Will sit and listen to a 10 minute *paper* story, like Babar with lots of words. Used to get anxious while reading these but now prefers longer stories with a plot.
  • Also enjoys simple board books. Can fill in the blanks with most of these books.
  • loves the "Awe shucks" part of the Runaway Bunny book. Repeats that a lot.
  • Yesterday I said, "Daddy is a cowboy" and he replied, "Yee HAW" (I have no idea how he knew that went together- must be in a book?)
  • learning about please and thank you. Says "Thank you, Daddy" sometimes if you give him something.
  • Still uses some Baby Signs for emphasis ex: "MORE MORE" and makes the sign for more or "All done" -- Other signs he still likes, moon, helicopter, airplane, thank you, please.
  • speaking of moon: loves to point out the moon when it's dark outside and talks a lot about the moon when he sees it in stories.
  • loves anything my Mom "performs" for him and always asks for "more more" when she is singing and dancing for him.
  • can pick out family members in photographs.
  • doesn't watch TV or have interest in it much, although with help, I'm sure we could train him to like it. He has a Thomas the Train video that he likes but doesn't really watch it for long. Prefers books, just like Mommy and Daddy.

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